“Roof to Roof” opens with hand-held shots (a method that continues for the film’s duration) of people gathering at what appears to be a family party. This scene continues and continues and continues, with no real dialogue and no sense of who these characters are or how they relate. Finally, after an undetermined amount of time we meet father and daughter, Zaven and Amy.
Zaven is a poor Armenian immigrant who is struggling, at a most basic level, to survive with Amy. Business is bad almost everywhere and his life offers no relief. He works at a local tune-up shop, a job that will inevitably be taken from him, for lack of expertise.
He truly loves his daughter — as is evident throughout the progression. Even though times are tough he still finds time to study with her and pay for the occassional sweet bread from the local bakery. Zavan is a loving father with a sister who is equally endearing.
As the story unfolds we are reminded that life, on any normal level, is mundane, and “Roof to Roof” is a mostly boring film, but this just may be the point. Not every life is full of exhilarating parties or luscious dinners; in fact, most lives have no excitement at all.